By Steve Grimm, Cannon Township Supervisor
Looking for a way to get involved in your township?
Volunteering can be a rewarding experience. Have you ever thought about getting involved with your local township? There are currently openings on three Cannon Township Committees – Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and the Cemetery Committee.
The Planning Commission is responsible for development and implementation of the township’s Master Plan and Zoning Ordinance. Meetings are the second Tuesday of every month at 6:00 pm. The Zoning Board of Appeals is a quasi-judicial body that considers requests for relief from zoning rules that may be too stringent under certain circumstances. The ZBA meets the third Tuesday of every month at 6:00 pm. Both positions have 3 year terms and include a small stipend for each meeting attended. The Cemetery Committee is also looking for one additional member. The Cemetery Committee oversees the Cannon Township cemeteries and makes recommendations to the Board when needed. It meets on an as-needed basis.
No experience is necessary for any of these positions, just an interest in helping better one’s community. If you are interested please visit the Cannon Township website at www.cannontwp.org for an application.
For those on sewer, please accept this public service announcement: Your homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover you in the event of a sewer backup into your home. Governmental entities, like Cannon Township and Rockford Public Schools, maintain coverage for backups, but pursuant to Public Act 222, that coverage kicks in only when the governmental entity is negligent. The fact is that many times backups occur in the absence of negligence. All too often, backups occur when the lateral pipes coming from a private residence fail. This is the homeowner’s responsibility, and you need to make sure that your homeowner’s coverage insures you in such an event. According to Marty Anderson, owner of the Anderson Agency in Sparta, some companies, like Farm Bureau, include a $2,500.00 limit for damages caused by a backup, but higher limits can be purchased for a higher premium. Marty cautions that many other companies do not automatically include it, but it can be purchased as a rider to your policy. Again, this is offered at a higher premium, and every company is different.
A resident in Cannon Township suffered a backup last year when the middle school’s water softeners simultaneously dumped 6,000 gallons of water into our system, overwhelming the nearest lift station, causing a backup into the resident’s home. The damages far exceeded the homeowner’s policy limits. It is important to assess your potential losses in the event of a backup and purchase the appropriate amount of insurance. Your homeowner’s carrier will be happy to assist and provide advice. Though we are aggressively pursuing a long range capital improvement plan, it is important to realize that the area’s system is aging, and as with any aging mechanical system, failures can happen, even without negligence.
Lift Station Update
As most who have ever read this article knows, sewer issues are important to me. When I became Supervisor of Cannon Township in 2011, the Grass Lake (Bella Vista) and Rogue River lift stations had exceeded their expected life, but the communities those stations serve had not yet undertaken to repair them. The critical nature of these facilities to the communities and their close proximity to important bodies of waters meant that we needed to act fast to eliminate the risk of failure. Plainfield, Cannon and Courtland Townships acted aggressively to put in place a plan that would do just that. Because we felt that it was vital to act quickly on both facilities, we obtained State Revolving Loan Funds at 2.5% interest, as well as a State grant that covered 90% of design engineering costs. All of this meant that the lift stations would be done sooner, and completely.
The communities obtained construction bids which came in under estimates. Grand River Construction, the lowest compliant bidder was awarded the contract. Because no construction will take place until all project equipment is on hand, work is scheduled to commence in late November or early December. It is anticipated that all construction, including critical bypass pumping, will take approximately two and a half months and will continue through the winter. Restoration will be completed in its entirety in early spring.
Because we are using bonds to pay for the projects, we are able to keep our cash reserves at levels that will enable us to continue our aggressive maintenance program, without depleting the fund balance. It also enables us to implement the repairs that are needed, rather than those that we can afford. Best of all, based on the sewer financials, and the new approach to operation and maintenance, no rate increases will be applied as a result of the project.